Mormonism, the Halloween Religion

Many Mormons do not know about Joe Smith's family involvement in the Salem witch trials of 1692, when Joe Smith Sr.'s great-grandfather Samuel Smith and Samuel's father-in-law John Gould testified against Mary Easty and Sarah Wilds respectively. The testimony of these relatives of Joe Smith hanged these girls as witches. A belief in witchcraft was passed through the Smith generations. Even Orlando Saunders, whom Mormon apologists consider to be one of the most favorable witnesses to Joe Smith's character, said in an interview that both Joe Smith Sr. and Jr. believed in witchcraft (Frederic G. Mather, "The Early Days of Mormonism," Lippincott's Magazine 26, Aug. 1880, p. 198).

Mormon General Authority B. H. Roberts admitted that Joe Smith's ancestors believed in warlocks and witches, but he asserted that such belief was normal in Smith's day, "Yes, the Prophet's ancestors were credulous. . . . It may be admitted that some of them believed in fortune telling, in warlocks and witches. . . . To be credulous in such things was to be normal people" (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 26-27).

Fayette Lapham, who spoke with the Smiths at length to find out firsthand about Mormonism, said, "This Joseph Smith, Senior, we soon learned, from his own lips, was a firm believer in witchcraft and other supernatural things; and had brought up his family in the same belief" (Historical Magazine, 7 May 1870, p. 306).

Joshua Stafford, a neighbor of the Smith family, noted that their money digging started no later than about 1820, when Joe Smith, Jr., was about fifteen years old:

"[I] became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1819 or 20. They then were laboring people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures . . . and told marvellous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters" (H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994, p. 64).

Orsamus Turner said, "Legends of hidden treasure had long designated Mormon Hill as the repository. Old Joseph Had dug there and young Joseph . . . had accompanied his father in the midnight delvings, and incantation of the spirits that guarded it" (Littells Living Age, 30, July-Sept. 1851, p. 429).

In an affidavit, Henry Harris affirmed Joe Smith's money digging and fortune telling:

"I, Henry Harris, do state that I became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1820, in the town of Manchester, N. York. They were a family that labored very little—the chief they did, was to dig for money. Joseph Smith, Jr. the pretended Prophet, used to pretend to tell fortunes; he had a stone which he used to put in his hat, by means of which he professed to tell people's fortunes" (Rodger Anderson, Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined, Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1990, p. 131).

Willard Chase, a neighbor who had employed Joe and Alvin Smith to help dig a well, confirmed money digging by the Smith family in 1820, "I became acquainted with the Smith family . . . in the year 1820. At that time they were engaged in the money digging business" (Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville, OH, 1834, p. 240).

Even historians friendly to the Mormon "church" have portrayed Joe Smith's involvement with treasure-digging as extensive. These historians include Howard J. Booth, Wayne Ham, Marvin Hill, Jan Shipps, Donna Hill, Richard P. Howard, James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard (D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1998, p. 44). In official Mormon documents, Joe Smith admitted to being a money digger (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 29; vol. 1, p. 17; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 120; Elders' Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 28-29).

For instance, when asked if he was ever a "money digger," Joe Smith responded: "Yes, but it was never a very profitable job for him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it." (Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 29).

Among the Palmyra neighbors who confirmed that Joe Smith used his brown peepstone in treasure digging were Willard Chase, William Stafford, Joseph Capron, Martin Harris, Abel Chase, Lorenzo Saunders, William Riley Hine and Isaac Butts (Quinn, pp. 44, 392n). This brown peepstone is still retained in the walk-in vault of the LDS presidency's office, together with at least one other of Smith's peepstones (Ibid., p. 243).

The scryer's stone Smith used in pretending to see buried treasure, he also used for both finding and translating the pretend golden plates. LDS author Richard S. Van Wagoner wrote about this peepstone,

"This stone, still retained by the First Presidency of the LDS Church, was the vehicle through which the golden plates were discovered and the medium through which their interpretation came" (Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books, SLC, 1994, p. 57).

Joe Smith eloped with Isaac Hale's daughter and returned to the Hale household to sponge off Mr. Hale. Peter Ingersoll, who was helping Smith move furniture, observed a touching scene between Isaac Hale and Smith:

"His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: 'You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money—pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.' Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones. Mr. Hale told Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he would assist him in getting into business. Joseph acceded to this proposition" (Howe, pp. 234-235).

Instead of finding honest work as he had promised Isaac Hale and Justice Albert Neely, Smith returned to his peepstone and pretended to find "golden plates." On May 1, 1834, Joe Smith's father-in-law published an affidavit on the matter in the Susquehanna Register. In the affidavit, Isaac Hale summed up the Book of Mormon. Sometimes one's relatives can say it best:

"I conscientiously believe from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole 'Book of Mormon' (so called) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary—and in order that its fabricators may live upon the spoils of those who swallow the deception. ISAAC HALE." (Isaac Hale affidavit, Susquehanna Register, Montrose, PA, May 1, 1834).

The last writings of B. H. Roberts, who was a member of the Mormon "church's" First Council of the Seventy, also paint the Book of Mormon as a scam. Towards the end of his life Roberts became disillusioned with Mormonism. Regarded by Mormons as a top scholar, Robert's six-volume Comprehensive History of the Church is still used today. Roberts concluded that the "Nephites" and other protagonists in the Book of Mormon were most likely not actual historical personages, but were the inventions of Joe Smith's mind, and were from plagiarized sources (B. H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, University of Illinois Press, 1985, p. 250, 271).

Even Joe Smith's own mother acknowledged that he was a talented storyteller, fully capable of inventing a detailed history of a make-believe civilization. She wrote:

"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and their animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly as if he had spend his whole life with them." (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, 1954 ed., p. 83).

Some of the first people to hear of Joe Smith's golden plates story remember Smith's telling of a bloody Spaniard ghost who guarded the plates (Marquardt and Walters, pp. 92, 94). After Fayette Lapham visited the Smith family with a friend in 1830, he reported Smith's dream of a blood-spurting ghost who guarded the plates. The tale was similar to the pirates' tales Joe Smith and his family relished:

"He [Joseph] then told his father that, in his dream, a very large and tall man appeared to him, dressed in an ancient suit of clothes, and the clothes were bloody. And the man said to him that there was a valuable treasure, buried many years since, and not far from that place; and that he had now arrived for it to be brought to light, for the benefit of the world at large; and, if he would strictly follow his directions, he would direct him to the place where it was deposited, in such a manner that he could obtain it. He then said to him, that he would have to get a certain coverlid, which he described, and an old-fashioned suit of clothes, of the same color, and a napkin to put the treasure in . . . when he had obtained it, he must not lay it down until he placed it in the napkin. . . ." (Historical Magazine 7, May 1870, 306-307).

Smith's early story of the plates, as related by those who heard it, had more in common with Halloween tales of hobgoblins and blood spurting ghosts than it did with anything "holy" or "Godly." When Smith first told the story, he had not learned to smooth out the rough edges. Hiel and Joseph Lewis, cousins of Smith's wife, recalled Smith's learning of the plates from a man who had his "throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down":

"He [Joe Smith] said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down. "Then he exclaimed, "Why can't I get it?" or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here, (Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach) with his (the ghost's) throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone; that another person whom he, Smith, would know at first sight, must come with him, and then he could get it. And when Smith saw Miss Emma Hale, he knew that she was the person, and that after they were married, she went with him to near the place, and stood with her back toward him, while he dug up the box, which he rolled up in his frock" (Amboy Journal, Amboy, Illinois, 24, 30 Apr. 1879).

Joe Smith occasionally did some work for the Saunders family. When he told his tale to Benjamin Saunders, though, the guardian of the plates was an amphibian who transformed into a man:

"I heard Joe tell my Mother and Sister how he procured the plates. He said he was directed by an angel where it was. He went in the night to get the plates. When he took the plates there was something down near the box that looked some like a toad that rose up into a man which forbid him to take the plates. . . . He told his story just as earnestly as any one could. He seemed to believe all he said" (Benjamin Saunders interview, Sept. 1884, 30, fd 44, box 2, pp. 22-23, "Miscellany 1795-1948," RLDS library-archives).

In an 1833 affidavit, Willard Chase corroborated the appearance of the amphibian: "He [Joe Smith] saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head" (Howe, p. 242).

In books on the occult, the toad is associated with Satanism, witchcraft and sorcery (Henry Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, London, Gregory, 1635, p. 472; Barrett, Magus, I:46).

Smith also became confused about whether he was visited by Moroni or Nephi. From 1835 to 1838 the Mormon leaders taught that "Moroni" visited Smith (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality?, Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1987, p. 137).

In 1842, though, when Joe Smith published his history in the Times and Seasons, he had changed his mind. He had decided that the messenger was "Nephi" instead of "Moroni." The first edition of the Pearl of Great Price also gave the messenger's name as "Nephi,"

"He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi." (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 3, April 15, 1842, p. 753; Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price, Liverpool, Eng., F. D. Richards, 1851, p. 41).

Later, when Mormon officials became embarrassed by Smith's discrepancy, they changed both the History of the Church and the Pearl of Great Price to read "Moroni." (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism, Magic and Masonry, 2nd ed., Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1988, p. 40).

As neighbor Parley Chase noted about Smith's golden plates story, "In regard to their Gold Bible speculation, they scarcely ever told two stories alike" (Howe, p. 248).

Just as he told inconsistent accounts of Moroni, he also told conflicting accounts of his first meeting with "God" and "Jesus." Former BYU history professor D. Michael Quinn notes that Joe Smith's early narratives of the first vision were less than satisfying: "'the 16th year of my age,' 'I was about 14 years old,' and 'my fifteenth year.' Smith even required Cowdery to change his age at the first vision from '15th year' to '17th' in the first published history" (Quinn, p. 141).

In 1977, Richard P. Howard, historian for the RLDS Church, acknowledged Smith's lack of credibility with the First Vision:

"One thing does seem certain: we cannot be certain about the First Vision. We cannot know that it occurred or, if it occurred, when or what Joseph experienced. . . . Neither Joseph Smith nor any other Latter Day Saint analyst has satisfactorily accounted for the discrepancies among the accounts on the point of the number and identity of the personage (s) appearing to him in the First Vision" ("An Analysis of Six Contemporary Accounts Touching Joseph Smith's First Vision," Restoration Studies I: Sesquicentennial Edition, p. 112).

The Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were offshoots and natural progressions of Smith's involvement with peepstones, money digging, Freemasonry, astrology, fortune telling, water witching, a Jupiter talisman, magic parchments, a ceremonial dagger, talking toads, magic circles of black lamb's and black dog's blood, hemlock juice, necromancy, blood spurting ghosts, wizardry, demonic possession, etc. The demon Moroni has its antecedent in occult books about ghosts who were thought to guard buried treasure. To Joe Smith, these enchantments needed to be broken. Appeasement through blood sacrifice to Satan was Joe Smith's method of choice to break the enchantment and to get at the treasure.

Smith's father influenced this belief. The newspaper Palmyra Reflector noted that Joe Smith's father "evinced a firm belief in the existence of hidden treasure, and that this section of country abounded in them.—He also revived, or in other words propagated the vulgar, yet popular belief that these treasures were held in charge of some EVIL spirit, which was supposed to be either the Devil himself, or some one of his most trusty favorites" (Palmyra Reflector, as cited in A Witness For Christ in America, vol. 2, pp. 68-69).

William Stafford, who lived about a mile and a half from the Smiths, corroborated Joe Smith Jr.'s blood sacrifices to Satan:

"Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way. That way, was as follows: - That a black sheep should be taken to the ground where the treasures were concealed - that after cutting its throat, it should be led around in a circle while bleeding. This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased: the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was to be four fold. To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large fat sheep. They afterwards informed me, that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect. This, I believe, is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business" (Howe, pp. 238-239; also reproduced in Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 59-61).

BYU Professor M. Wilford Poulson noted Wallace Miner's saying, "I once asked Stafford if Smith did steal a sheep from him. He said no, not exactly. He said, he did miss a black sheep, but soon Joseph came and admitted he took it for sacrifice but he was willing to work for it. He made wooden sap buckets to fully pay for it" (Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1970, p. 249)

C. R. Stafford testified about the same incident: "Jo Smith, the prophet, told my uncle, William Stafford, he wanted a fat, black sheep. He said he wanted to cut its throat and make it walk in a circle three times around and it would prevent a pot of money from leaving" (Naked Truths About Mormonism, January 1888, page 3; also in Vogel, vol. 2, p. 197)

 To the right is a graphic of the actual dagger Joe Smith used for animal sacrifices to Satan. The Smith family dagger was listed in the inventory of Hyrum Smith's "relics." An authorized biography of Hyrum Smith described the artifact as "Dagger, Masonic [—] ten inch, stainless steel—wooden handle—Masonic symbols on blade" (Pearson Corbett, Hyrum Smith, Patriarch, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1963, p. 453). Slides of the dagger were screened at the Sunstone Theological Symposium, August 24, 1985, Salt Lake City, Utah. Symbols on the blade are not "Masonic," but they are used in ceremonial magic. One side of the blade has the seal of Mars. The other side of the blade has a symbol for the "Intelligence of Mars," the zodiac sign for Scorpio and the Hebrew letters for "Adonai." Occult books recommend the inscription of "Adonai" for those seeking a treasure-trove (Agrippa, Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, 1655, p. 81; Ebenezer Sibly, New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences, illustration opposite p. 1103; Francis Barrett, Magus, 1801, II:110). These magical signs were inscribed according to instructions for inscribing occult symbols (Henry Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, London: Gregory Moule, 1651, p. 245; Barrett, Magus, I: illustrations opposite pp. 143, 174; Melton, Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, vol. 2, p. 1179). Mars is the governing planet of Smith Sr.'s birth year (1771).

Dr. William D. Purple, a respected Bainbridge physician and a personal friend of Justice Neely, took notes at Joe Smith's 1826 court trial. Justice Albert Neely listed the case as "Joseph Smith The Glass looker—March 20, 1826." Some of Dr. Purple's recollections of the trial were printed in the Chenango Union. In a snippet from that article, one notes that Smith lured Josiah Stowell into sacrificing a lamb to an "evil spirit." During the blood sacrifice to an evil spirit, Smith sprinkled the lamb's blood to make a magic circle, just as he had done with the black lamb from William Stafford's flock.

Dr. Purple wrote,

"In this emergency the fruitful mind of Smith was called on to devise a way to obtain the prize. Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure. Shortly after the venerable Deacon might be seen on his knees at prayer near the pits while Smith, with a lantern in one hand to dispel the midnight darkness, might be seen making a circuit around the pits sprinkling the flowing blood from the lamb upon the ground, as a propitiation to the spirit that thwarted them" (William D. Purple, "Joseph Smith the Originator of Mormonism: Historical Reminiscences of the town of Afton," Chenango Union, Norwich, NY, May 2, 1877, p. 3).

Hiel Lewis affirmed that Smith translated the Book of Mormon by means of the same enchanting spirit that directed Smith to make dog sacrifices. Dr. Quinn wrote, "A cousin of Smith's wife Emma reported that Smith 'translated the book of Mormon by means of the same peep stone, and under the same inspiration that directed his enchantments and dog sacrifices; it was all by the same spirit' (H. Lewis 1879)" (Quinn, 1987 edition, p. 144).

When Joe Smith started his "church" in 1830, the local Palmyra newspaper Reflector ran an article making fun of the Book of Mormon and Joe Smith's animal sacrifices (Dogberry, pseud. [Abner Cole] "Book of Pukei," The Reflector, Palmyra, NY, June 12, 1830, p. 36).

Early Mormon convert Emily M. Austin recalled Joe Smith's urging animal sacrifice, ". . . in the time of their digging for money and not finding it attainable, Joseph Smith told them there was a charm on the pots of money, and if some animal was killed and the blood sprinkled around the place, then they could get it. So they killed a dog and tried this method of obtaining the precious metal. . . . Alas! how vivid was the expectation when the blood of poor Tray was used to take off the charm, and after all to find their mistake . . . and now they were obliged to give up in despair (Mormonism; or Life Among the Mormons, 1882; Wesley P. Walters, "Joseph Smith's Bainbridge, N.Y., Court Trials" Westminster Theological Journal, 1974, part 2, p. 125).

Justice Joel King Noble, who tried Smith in an 1830 trail in Colesville, N.Y., related in a letter that when Joe Smith and others were digging "for a Chest of money," they acquired a black dog and offered it as "a sacrafise [blo]od Sprinkled prayer made at the time (no money obtained) the above Sworn to on trial. . . ." (Letter of Justice Noble, dated March 8, 1842, photographically reproduced in Walters, "Joseph Smith's Bainbridge, N.Y., Court Trials," p. 134).

Smith also urged human sacrifice to Satan. In 1880, Lippincott's Magazine noted:

"On a wilderness-hill—now a part of Jacob J. Skinner's farm—his peek-stone discovered a ton of silver bars which had been buried by weary Spaniards as they trudged up the Susquehanna. An expedition for their recovery was undertaken as soon as Smith could muster enough followers to do the work. . . . The third hole had been sunk fifteen out of the necessary twenty feet when the treasure once more jumped to the other side of the big hole. Then the prophet had a vision: the blood of a black sheep must be shed and sprinkled around the diggings. Black sheep were scarce, and while they waited for one the faithful obtained their needed rest. At length, no sheep appearing, Joe Said that a black dog might answer. A dog, therefore, was killed, and the blood was sprinkled on the ground. After that the silver never went far away. Still, it waltzed about the big hole in such a lively manner that frequent tunneling to effect its capture availed nothing. At the last the prophet decided that it was of no use to dig unless one of their number was made a sacrifice. None of the faithful responded to his call, and thus the magnificent scheme was abandoned. Oliver Harper, one of the diggers who furnished the money, was soon afterward murdered. The prophet thought this might answer for a sacrifice: he again rallied the diggers, but the charm remained stubborn and would not reveal the silver" (Lippincott's Magazine, 1880, pp. 199-200).

History of Susquehanna County notes Joe Smith's saying that "one of the company should die before the enchantment could be broken" (Emily C. Blackman, History of Susquehanna County, 1873, p. 580).

On April 23, 1880, the Salt Lake Tribune published a document showing Joe Smith's involvement with Oliver Harper's widow in an agreement about money digging shares (Daily Tribune, Salt Lake City, April 23, 1880).

The History of Susquehanna County notes that "Oliver Harper was murdered by Jason Treadwell. . . ." (Blackman, p 97).

Treadwell was part of Smith's money digging group (Gerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism, Magic and Masonry, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1988, p. 35). Treadwell was executed for the murder on January 13, 1825 (Blackman, p. 325).

According to Joseph Capron, Joe Smith claimed to see "infernal spirits" in his peepstone (Howe, p. 259). Smith was mesmerized by evil spirits. Spellbound, he could watch them in rapt absorption for hours. William Stafford's affidavit notes Smith's protracted enthrallment with evil spirits:

"He returned and said that Joseph had remained all the time in the house looking it the stone and watching the movements of the evil spirits. . . ." [Given under oath before Judge Th. P. Baldwin, Dec., 1833] (Charles A. Shook, True Origin of the Book of Mormon, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1914, pp. 28-31)

Dr. William D. Purple recorded the process of Joe Smith's becoming demon possessed. The LDS doctrine of Eternal Progression, of men becoming gods, originated when Smith deluded himself and lifted up his heart with feelings of ecstasy and godhood:

"With some labor and exertion he found the stone, carried it to the creek, washed and wiped it dry, sat down on the bank, placed it in his hat, and discovered that time, place and distance were annihilated; that all intervening obstacles were removed, and that he possessed one of the attributes of Deity, an All-Seeing-Eye." (Dr. William D. Purple, Chenango Union, Norwich, NY, May 3, 1877)

God said that before Him there was no God formed, and that after Him there will be none (Isaiah 43:10). When Lucifer said in his heart that he would ascend above the heights of the clouds and would make himself like the Most-High, God said that he would be thrust down to Sheol (Isaiah 14:13-15). Mormons have embraced the very sin that caused Lucifer’s name change to Satan and that sealed his future in hell.

Since some satanic rites require blackness, accordingly the demon Moroni required Joe Smith to wear black clothing at their rendezvous. Smith Sr. told neighbor Willard Chase that Joe Smith Jr. was required to wear "black clothes" and to arrive on a "black horse" (Quinn, 1998 edition, p. 165). Lorenzo Saunders recalled that blackness was also a requirement for the rendezvous (Ibid., p. 65). In an interview with Fayette Lapham, Joe Smith Sr. referred to a requirement of wearing clothing of the same color (Vogel, 1:459).

According to Lucy Mack Smith, Dr. Gain Robinson was "an old friend" of the Smith family (Ibid., 1:316). He owned a store in Palmyra, and he recorded purchases made by the Smiths from 1825 until 1829. The first time that any one of the Smiths purchased lampblack from his store was September 18, 1827, only four days before Joe Smith's visit with the demon Moroni. (Lampblack was almost pure carbon. It was made from soot, and it was used to paint objects black.)

Dr. Robinson's accounting entry for this particular purchase of lampblack was abbreviated "L.Blk," and Dr. Robinson noted that Smith Sr. bought the lampblack for his son Joe Smith Jr. (Gain Robinson Store day book 1827-29, 301 King's Daughters' Library; Quinn, p. 166). Black is mentioned as a requirement in Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft and Discourse Concerning Devils and Spirits (pp. 215, 218-20, 226) and Ebenezer Sibly's New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences (pp. 1102, 1104). Smearing lampblack on the palms was practiced in divinatory scrying (Northcote Thomas, Crystal Gazing: Its History and Practice, London, Alexander Moring, 1905, pp. 32, 48-50, 68).

Smith prepared for the meeting about midnight September 21, 1827, and he took Emma (Quinn, p. 166). Joe Smith's sister said that Joe was commanded to go at 2 a.m., September 22, 1827 (Katharine Smith Salisbury letter to "Dear Sisters," Vogel, I:521). For the 1823 meeting, Mormon scribe Oliver Cowdery wrote that Smith began praying to commune with "some kind of messenger" about "eleven or twelve" (Cowdery to Phelps, "Letter IV," 78-79; Jessee Papers of Joseph Smith, 1:50-51).

Occult tradition specifies that spirit conjurations should begin at 11 o'clock at night. Joe Smith established the Moroni visit of September 21, 1923 as "after I had retired to my bed for the night." (Joseph Smith History, Pearl of Great Price, verse 29)

Magic instructions also teach that if nothing results, the same experiment must be renewed in the following years. Smith wrote,

"[Moroni] told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates." (Ibid., verse 53)

All of Smith's yearly meetings with Moroni were at night, and all followed the new moon and autumnal equinox at the major witchcraft festival of Harvest Home (Janet ~ Stewart Farrar, Eight Sabbats for Witches, Robert Hale, London, 1981, pp. 26, 116). These were auspicious conditions for occultic treasure digging and the conjuration of demons. Dr. Quinn cites a comprehensive study of the magic arts, and he notes that all three distinctive forms of ritual magic were extant in Smith's meetings with Moroni: necromancy, transformation, and theurgy (Quinn, 1987 ed., p. 133). Smith's encounter with the demon Moroni was a textbook case of sorcery.

Mormons later rewrote Smith's account and deleted the blood-spurting Spaniard ghost, the transforming amphibian, the animal sacrifices to evil spirits and other clear giveaways to the true nature of Mormonism—the Halloween religion as I call it. Before Mormons rewrote the story, Moroni was an apparition who had his throat cut ear-to-ear, blood streaming down his clothing, a hobgoblin who was murdered to guard treasure as an enchantment. Smith's story was similar to the kind of tale he told his money digging associates. The milieu and genre were identical to that of his money digging tales. The requirements to arrive at a new moon, during an autumnal equinox, to wear black clothing, to smear his hands with lampblack, to bring a specific person, etc., were taken from specific books on the occult, as Dr. Quinn's research found. The Book of Mormon identifies Moroni as an ancient and righteous Nephite who is now dead. What does the Bible tell us about communicating with dead people? Necromancy, or communication with the dead, is strictly forbidden (Deut. 18:9-12). Those who communicate with the dead are an abomination unto the Lord (Deut. 18:10-12).

Book of Mormon witness Oliver Cowdery corroborated that when Joe Smith first went to the Manchester hill he "beheld the prince of darkness, surrounded by his innumerable trains of associates" (Oliver Cowdery letter to W. W. Phelps, LDS Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, October 1835, p. 198).

Fayette Lapham recalled Smith's telling of devils who screeched, screamed and wounded Smith:

" . . . Joseph took the pillow-case and started for the rock. Upon passing a fence, a host of devils began to screech and to scream, and made all sorts of hideous yells. . . . Joseph then turned the rock back, took the article in the pillow-case, and returned to the wagon; the devils, with more hideous yells than before, followed him to the fence; as he was getting over the fence, one of the devils struck him a blow on his side, where a black and blue spot remained three or four days. . . ." (Historical Magazine, 7 May 1870, p. 306).

The Ancients Book of Magic (p. 15) notes that demons, during an encounter with a magician, can make shocking displays:

"Thus attired, and standing within the charmed circle, the magician repeats the awful formot exorcism; and presently, the internal spirits make strange and frightful noises, howlings, tremblings, flashes, and most dreadful shrieks and yells, as the forerunner becomes visible."

By Mark Hines, M.A.